By Annie Yang T'20
Photos by Lindsey Fleetwood
The exciting sizzle of the pan, the comforting smells of something cooking, the warm fullness of sharing a meal with your loved ones--food is a treasured constant in our lives. Many of us have been cooks for as long as we can remember, but our techniques and our approaches to food do not also have to stay constant. We need not look further to spice up our usual, garden-variety cooking than our gardens.
Chef Katie Coleman, owner of Durham Spirits Company, will help you unlock the culinary potential of your very own back yard in her "Cooking from the Garden" series at Duke Gardens.
Unlike purchasing produce from a supermarket, picking herbs and vegetables from your garden will guarantee that your food is seasonal, fresh and local. As Katie points out, tomatoes bought in the middle of winter that have had to endure the shipping process are not nearly as flavorful as tomatoes grown in your back yard over the summer.
"LateAutumn Salads" and "Warm Winter Soups" classes are geared toward specific times of the year and will help you learn to work with what’s in season.
Selecting your ingredients can be as easy as stepping outside and picking them off the stem, and cooking can be just as easy, too. There are all sorts of kitchen gadgets and gizmos that people may be tempted to use, but Katie prefers to keep things simple.
“I think the less you do, the more you highlight the vegetables or whatever it is that you’re cooking with,” she says.
Many people have been cooking for their entire lives, but they can also pick up habits that don't serve them well. Katie often catches people adding sugar to their onions during caramelization, or she has to coax them to be more liberal with their herbs. You might be a seasoned cook, but everyone has more they can learn!
Join Katie for one class or both, and she just might transform the way you view a certain vegetable or dish. At the least, this master chef will help you improve your cooking and bring more flavor into your meals.
"Cooking from the Garden: Late Autumn Salads" on Monday, Oct. 24 and "Cooking from the Garden: Warm Winter Soups" on Monday, Jan. 23. The class runs from 6-8 p.m. Both classes feature in-class tastings and are limited to 12 participants. The cost to register for one class is $28 for Gardens members and $35 for the general public. To register for both classes, the cost is $50 for Gardens members and $64 for the general public. To register, or for more information, please call 919-668-1707 or email.
Annie Yang is a Duke freshman and a work-study marketing assistant at Duke Gardens. Lindsey Fleetwood is a horticulturist in the Doris Duke Center Gardens at Duke Gardens.